Thursday, August 11, 2011

I hope I don't get chased...

...because I'm not sure I could run from them.

I've been injured before -- what athlete hasn't? -- but none of my prior injuries sidelined me like the one I'm currently working through.  In early June I went out for a run with my sister-in-law and we were running at a decent clip -- faster than I would usually run -- but by no means so fast that we still couldn't chat with each other.  During the run my Achilles area on my left leg, as well as my left calf, felt a bit tender but not so much so that it was uncomfortable.  I thought nothing of it.  That is, until I tried to run again a couple of days later and was unable to.  I didn't even make it to the end of the block.  I returned to my apartment building -- dejected and confused -- but determined to get a workout in out so I went down to the basement gym and proceeded to row 4,000 meters or so.  Turns out -- so obvious in retrospect -- that substituting a rowing workout for a running workout when you have tenderness in your lower leg area isn't the smartest idea.  I stopped running altogether but continued to row for the next week or so with the mild discomfort subsiding as I rowed.  I thought things were looking up...until I went to go see my wife's chiropractor in Arlington, VA (NOVA Pain & Rehab) when we returned to the DC area for a week.  Following the consult, he diagnosed me with an acute case of tendonitis in my lower left leg and recommended that I avoid running altogether for at least two weeks, ice my lower leg twice daily, tape the calf, foam roll my IT band & calf, and start strengthening the muscles on the lateral side of my leg.  And if I chose to ride my bicycle in the meantime, I was to avoid any hill-climbing.  The prognosis wasn't what I was hoping for, but it could have been worse.  And in the grand scheme of things -- insofar as athletic injuries are concerned -- I think I've been pretty fortunate over the years.  What I was most bummed about, though, was that I'd have to withdraw from an ultramarathon I was slated to run in mid-August.  This was going to be my first European ultra and I was quite excited to run it, but alas, there's always next year...



This thing gets a lot of love from me

As for what was responsible for my injury -- I can't say with 100% conviction what it was -- but I suspect it may have been from months of residual stress due to minimalist running.  My wife, however, thinks it may have been from the 2-3 times per week rowing workout.  Either way, I've since returned to some running and feel relatively decent, although I'm running in my trail shoes (Montrail Mountain Masochists) rather than my Vibram Five Fingers.  I'm not sure whether I'll return to running pavement in the Vibrams full-time -- maybe once a week to maintain foot and ankle strength -- but I'm not sure my stride has become efficient enough to handle near 100% minimalist running. 

During the down-time I reacquainted myself with my rode bike and although she left me saddle-sore after nearly every ride for the first couple of weeks, I've now regained my tolerance and quite enjoy our time together as the miles roll by.  Here's to continuing to cross-train and complement my running with a regular road ride...



Riding along the bike path bisecting the Danube Island

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